I have several reasons for thinking that the current round of destruction is clearing the decks for something better, but the main one is that historically, media that increase the amount of arguing people do has been a long-term positive for society, even at the cost of short-term destruction of familiar patterns, and the disorientation of the people comfortable with those patterns. I think we’ll get extended narrative online — I just doubt the format of most of those narratives will look enough like a book to merit the name.
Anna Baddely, editor of the Omnivore, writing in The Guardian on the relative inconspicuousness of digital backlist titles on ebook retailer sites compared with new release titles, and whether this suggests a
gap in the market for a virtual “secondhand” bookshop.
couchmovi.es is a project by Tyson Armstrong that lets you “quickly see which movies are on TV”1. Great idea, elegant execution. You can read about the (rapid) development of the project on Tyson’s blog.
I have this weird thing where if a movie is on TV and I own the DVD, I’ll put the DVD on. couchmovi.es helps me continue to be weird.
1. On Australian free-to-air networks
Mike Lynch at Nannygoat Hill on #artwiculate’s artificial intelligence
I already read Twitter on the toilet. But that doesn’t mean I’m not tempted to give Shitter a go.
Much ado about LADYES ! Ladyes ladyes LADYES !
An example of the kind of thing where I think Twitter has the edge over Google+ or Facebook: it gives rise to demented brilliance like #FutureSeinfeld. Some great work from @spikelynch, @facelikethunder, @timsterne and @monkeytypist among many others.
I’ve seen a lot of people link to Nicholas Carr’s call for publishers to bundle free, electronic versions of books with purchases of the physical artifact (in the way that music labels often bundle audio files with vinyl purchases), but it chimes so much with my own feelings that I felt I needed to link to it here too.
Every writer is two people (at least). There’s the one that does the writing, and the one that has an egg for breakfast. I’m the other one.
Margaret Atwood on the psychic division between the writer as author and the writer as human being, quoted in the New York Times in the context of authors extending their private selves into the world via social media.
Sam Anderson in the New York Times discussing information overload, James Gleick’s new book The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, and the overwhelming inclusiveness of the internet on one hand and the restraint of the traditional almanac on the other:
Like the Web, the almanac aspires to be a total information delivery system – the source of every datum you will ever need. Unlike the Web, however, the almanac aims for exhaustiveness within clearly defined limits. It has a front cover and a back cover. Compared with the Internet, it feels wonderfully contained and stable – it is curated omniscience, portion-control Google. Much of its value comes from the empty spaces around its edges, the missing entries in its index, the silence that descends when you close it.
There’s something charming about spam email prefixed with ‘Re:’. It’s as though the sender is being particularly sincere in responding to my queries about ‘raw power’ and ‘massive rods’.
Bronwyn van der Merwe from the BBC online and technology team runs through some of the choices involved in creating a new ‘global visual language’ for the corporation’s digital services. (Also worth a look is the BBC internet team’s post on regenerating the Doctor Who section of the site for the launch of the new series. If only the video content was available outside of the UK.)
The New York Times reviews Jaron Lanier’s You are not a gadget, declaring it “necessary reading for anyone interested in how the Web and the software we use every day are reshaping culture and the marketplace.”
I’m intrigued by Lanier’s comments about books in particular (“If the books in the cloud are accessed via user interfaces that encourage mashups of fragments that obscure the context and authorship of each fragment, there will be only one book”) and find myself in sympathetic agreement with his suggestion (hardly unique to him, of course) that pop culture has “entered into a nostalgic malaise”.
“Hi, I am sad and dreary one.”
Least enticing opening line of a spam email ever.
According to Google Analytics, someone visited my website immediately after typing the search phrase “where to buy flatulence underwear melbourne australia”.
There’s nowhere I can go from there.
Freelance writer Riccardo Mori steps back in time to a Mac running System 7.1 (connected to an old iBook running System 9 as "a bridge between the 'old' world and the 'new' world" of his regular setup) to avoid the shiny, internet-connected world of distraction that OS X offers: emails, RSS, spur of the moment research on the muddy muddy web. Great photo of his barebones setup; I felt instantly calmed (and envious).
I recently had a flick through Glut: mastering information through the ages by Alex Wright and was intrigued by the story of Paul Otlet, who in the 1930s dreamt up an information retrieval system that seems to foreshadow the modern world wide web.
Spooky! Judging from Twitter Trends, Michael Jackson and the lesser known but similarly named “Micheal” Jackson died ON EXACTLY THE SAME DAY
In seeking to find the Latin for ‘hairy’, Googling “latin hairy” proved rather educational, if not entirely relevant
Phrases that are surprisingly safe to Google #17: “Things to do with sausage.”